Longhorns handle DePaul in CBE Classic

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A step up in competition revealed the DePaul Blue Demons are several steps behind.
The Blue Demons (3-3) left the CBE Classic with two disheartening losses. The Texas Longhorns, without a senior and not expected to contend in the Big 12, handled DePaul 77-59 on Tuesday at the Sprint Center in the third-place game.
It looked similar to Monday's 90-72 loss to No. 12 Wichita State. In both games, DePaul gave up a multitude of easy baskets. Texas added to DePaul's misery with rebounding dominance and the Longhorns did most of their damage within a foot or two of the basket. DePaul faded in both games midway through the first half, largely because of sloppy ball-handling and poor shot selection.
DePaul coach Oliver Purnell saw the same issues haunt his team again.
"We didn't take care of the ball and get good shots for a period in the first half and that hurt us," he said. "We turn it over at critical times."
Forward Cleveland Melvin led DePaul with 15 points, although he missed 10 of his 13 shots. Guard Brandon Young added 14.
Center Cameron Ridley led Texas' efforts in the lane with 19 points and nine rebounds, five offensive.
Texas out-rebounded DePaul 40-20 and grabbed 18 offensive rebounds. The Longhorns scored 46 points in the lane and 24 second-chance points.
Ridley set a career-high in scoring. In two CBE games, he averaged 15.5 points and 9.5 rebounds. Texas coach Rick Barnes wants his guards to get Ridley the ball more often and they listened.
"He needs to be rewarded," Barnes said. "We've got to get him more involved. Our young guys are learning how to play with a big guy. We'll get better with that."
Texas' zone defense kept the Blue Demons out of the lane and they couldn't make enough three-pointers to ruin the strategy. They ruined what little momentum generated with a turnover or a bad shot.
DePaul trailed Texas 39-23 at the half, a reminder of Monday's 52-34 deficit against Wichita State. In neither game did DePaul make much of a rally. The Blue Demons rarely came up with the stops needed to cut into the lead. Texas scored on four of its first five possessions of the second half. It pushed the lead to 20 points, 52-32, on Connor Lammert's shot in the lane with 13:18 to play.
"They pushed it and got easy things," Purnell said. "When they missed it, they cleaned it up."
DePaul cut the lead to 65-50 with 5:05 remaining, a slim hope, but some hope. Two misses -- one an airball by Billy Garrett -- and a turnover allowed Texas to rebuild its edge to 20 points.
Turnovers ruined DePaul's opportunity to build a significant lead early in the game. The Blue Demons went up 6-2, scoring on its first three possessions. But a missed shot and a turnover allowed Texas to tie the game. A 13-11 lead went to waste when DePaul gave the ball away without a shot on three straight possessions. Texas took a 15-13 lead on a dunk by Ridley.
Texas switched to a zone defense midway through the half and took away all DePaul's driving lanes. The Blue Demons moved the ball casually against the zone, rarely able to get the ball into the lane. The Longhorns led 15-14 when it made the move, later mixing in a half-court trap, and started a 20-4 run. Ridley scored seven of those points.
Texas led 39-23 at halftime. The Longhorns out-rebounded DePaul 22-10 and scored 13 second-chance points off 10 offensive rebounds. Add in a number of layups and dunks created by the offense and Texas scored 26 points in the lane.
Tommy Hamilton IV and Garrett both scored seven points to lead DePaul at halftime. Ridley made 4 of 6 shots and scored 11 points for Texas.
NOTES: DePaul G Brandon Young played in his 100th career game Tuesday. He scored 14 points to reach 1,471 for his career and move into 11th place on DePaul's list, passing Howie Carl (1,461) and Curtis Watkins (1,463). ... DePaul F Cleveland Melvin struggled with defensive attention in both CBE games. He went 7 for 23 against Texas and Wichita State, making 1 of 6 three-pointers. He entered the week averaging 19 points and making 62 percent of his shots (12 of 18 from three). ... The Blue Demons turned the ball over nine times in the first half, leading to 13 points for Texas.

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